Jeptoo will chase history as she looks to break 2:20 for the third time.
Kenyan Rita Jeptoo and American Tatyana McFadden, who won titles at the 2013 Chicago Marathon and also this year’s Boston Marathon, will return to Chicago in October to defend their crowns.
Jeptoo scorched the Chicago course last fall en route to a 2:19:57, her first time under 2:20 and the fastest women’s marathon time of the year. She opened her 2014 season with a 2:18:57 in Boston, a course record by almost two minutes.
McFadden, a 10-time track and field Paralympic medalist, has won Chicago the last three years and four times in the last five years. She broke the course record last year, which had stood for more than two decades.
“Rita Jeptoo and Tatyana McFadden are among two of the fastest and most exciting athletes competing in the world today,” said Bank of America Chicago Marathon Executive Race Director Carey Pinkowski in a press release. “They know how to close a race with the kind of finishing speed that really makes them stand out. To have them come back to defend their titles sets the stage for another year of sensational racing in Chicago.”
Jeptoo could make history in Chicago if she breaks the 2:20 mark, as only two other women—Catherine Ndereba and Paula Radcliffe—have done that three times.
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At the 2012 edition of Chicago, Jeptoo and Ethiopian Atsede Baysa went stride-for-stride down the homestretch on Columbus Avenue before Baysa held on to win, 2:22:03 to 2:22:04.
McFadden had a thrilling start to her 2014 season. She won a cross-country skiing silver medal at the Sochi Paralympics, which she followed, 32 days later, with back-to-back wins at the London and Boston Marathons. Her marathon victories occurred just eight days apart.
The 2014 Chicago Marathon takes place Oct. 12 and will include about 45,000 participants.